As a chief information security officer (CISO), you understand the importance of investing in cybersecurity to protect your company's assets. But as you try to convince the chief financial officer (CFO) to invest more in IT security, you may need help speaking the same language. CFOs may need help understanding all the technical jargon associated with cybersecurity and may not fully comprehend how a security breach can negatively impact the company's finances. We want to help you successfully navigate that conversation with these five tips.
Tip #1 - Highlight The Cost of A Security Breach
One way to convince the CFO to invest more in cybersecurity is to lay out the costs associated with a security breach. Breaches can result in lost data, legal fees, and potential damages. The costs associated with a security breach can cripple the company's finances, and it is not a matter of IF but WHEN. The cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures' "2022 Official Cybercrime Report.” That is a significant amount of money that could be invested in preventive measures. By sharing this information with the CFO, you make cybersecurity an even more critical aspect of the company's finances.
Tip #2 - Tie Security to Business Goals
It is essential to tie cybersecurity efforts to the company's overall business goals. CFOs are primarily concerned with generating revenue while minimizing costs, and a security breach can become a significant cost that hinders achieving the business goals. By connecting the dots, you can make cybersecurity a part of the bigger picture. For example, if your company is trying to move into a new market industry, an IT security breach could undermine those efforts due to the loss of critical intellectual property. By explaining how cybersecurity is directly connected to business goals, the CFO will be more inclined to make the investments they need to achieve those goals. Or when implemented correctly, cybersecurity measures can increase productivity by preventing system downtime and data loss. For example, regular backups of critical data can ensure quick recovery in case of a malware attack or accidental deletion of necessary files.
Tip #3 - Emphasize Regulatory Compliance
Most industries have specific regulations that they must comply with, which include adequate IT security measures. Noncompliance can result in costly fines and damage to the company's reputation. But, by implementing the necessary cybersecurity measures, the company can continue to operate within the guidelines and avoid the risks of non-compliance. By presenting the CFO with potential regulatory challenges that are costs, you present the case that investing in cybersecurity is a compliance effort that aligns with overall financial goals.
Tip #4 - Establish Risks and Mitigation Measures
Another approach to convincing the CFO about the IT security investment's importance is establishing risks and mitigation measures. Outline the attacks that threaten your organization and the steps you are taking to mitigate them. Doing so will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand and provide the CFO with the reassurance they need for peace of mind. In addition, with a strong mitigation strategy, the CFO can save the company from costly outcomes caused by security incidents.
Tip #5 - Provide Tech-Free Explanations
CFOs may need help understanding or appreciating technical jargon associated with IT security. Therefore, it is imperative to explain technical terms in simple language. CFOs want to know what benefits the company will receive from investing in cybersecurity, what investments are needed to achieve those benefits, and how it aligns with the company's financial goals. As a result, provide simple language explanations that show how specific IT Security measures align with operational goals and their economic implications.
Speaking IT security language to a CFO requires a different approach, but with the right strategy, you can convince them of the importance of investing more in cybersecurity. By presenting the costs associated with security breaches, tying security efforts to business goals, emphasizing regulatory compliance, outlining risks and mitigation measures, and providing plain-language explanations, you can make a compelling case to even the most financially savvy CFO. Then, with your perseverance, you can get the necessary investments to secure the company's IT environment, thus staying ahead of threats and maintaining a competitive edge.
We have had this conversation many times and are always happy to assist. Contact us for assistance today.